How USS is Building a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

As well as increased profitability, better innovation, and higher performance, a diverse and inclusive workplace is ultimately a workplace with higher employee wellbeing and stronger retention levels. 

In 2021 it’s more important than ever for businesses to establish and implement a diversity and inclusion strategy. A 1/3 of consumers would rather purchase from brands they view as doing social or environmental good and being a champion for diversity in tech is one key way businesses can drive positive social change and be seen as genuinely caring about equality in the eyes of consumers. 

Another reason having a diverse and inclusive workplace is important is because current and future generations of workers care so deeply about equality, and for many, it’s a core value they want their employer to share. PwC gathered interesting insights about the millennial workforce (specifically female millennials) and they discovered that 85% agreed that a policy on diversity and equality was important when deciding whether to work for an employer.

We’ve looked at how USS are approaching diversity and inclusion to present a detailed example of what a determined and successful diversity and inclusion strategy looks like. Their commitment to diversity and inclusion has resulted in these milestones:

USS are the largest private pension scheme in the country in terms of assets. Established in 1974, they are the principal pension scheme for universities and higher education institutions in the UK. They are a diverse and inclusive workplace that embraces individuality, where people are welcomed and feel comfortable in the knowledge they can be themselves. When it comes to diversity and inclusion, they have three main goals: 

Build a diverse and inclusive workforce and workplace

Individuals are supported, respected and have a voice

Encourage a workplace and culture where opportunities are open to all

Their diversity strategy aims to ensure inclusion is a core value maintained at all stages of the employee journey from initial candidate attraction through to internal promotions. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of how USS approach and ensure diversity and inclusion is a core value at all stages of the employee journey: 

Attraction

USS aim to be an attractive organisation to potential applicants regardless of their background. Not only do they demonstrate a public commitment to diversity and inclusion to show potential candidates that they’re a safe and supportive employer with an attractive working environment based on equality and fairness, but they also ensure roles are advertised with clear and fair role profiles. To ensure a diverse pool of applicants apply for roles, they allocate time and resource to proactively outreach to potential underrepresented groups in tech. 

Recruitment

When it comes to recruitment, USS is dedicated to ensuring that every aspect of the recruitment process is fair and inclusive for all by investing in building inclusivity knowledge and mindsets in hiring managers. Hiring managers with up to date and informed knowledge of diversity best practices, inclusivity, and equality can be more targeted and proactive in their recruitment processes and attract a larger pool of diverse tech talent. USS ensure this is ongoing and sustainable by embedding internal targets to further develop an open and inclusive recruitment process. 

Retention & Development 

Diverse and inclusive workplaces experience higher employee wellbeing and subsequent retention levels. USS support employee wellbeing and inclusion by supporting the development of personal and skills as well as role-specific development. Their approach places trust in the tried and tested fairness of equal opportunities for development and reward. 

Progression & Inclusive Leadership 

Further along down the employee journey when it comes to progression and inclusive leadership, USS draw on a similar approach that they adopt to fair recruitment. Setting targets and building inclusivity knowledge, mindsets, and behaviours in senior leadership and hiring managers leads to inclusive recruitment and internal promotions. 

Proactively demonstrating a dedication to diversity and inclusion through a well researched and informed D&I strategy communicates to employees, clients, competitors, and potential candidates that your company or organisation is committed to making the technology industry as diverse as the society it serves. USS are an example of how important and fruitful it is to cover all areas when it comes to strategy implementation. From candidate attraction to leadership, diversity must be a core and shared value to move in the right direction and make a difference. 

We interviewed Kelly Jones and Jenny Murphy at USS on their thoughts and experience on women in tech, read the interviews in full: 

Kelly Jones, 1st Line Technical Support Analyst 

Jenny Murphy, Project Manager